Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Love on its own is not enough

I was 19 and unexpectedly on my own for the first time.  My mom had moved away, and despite my dad’s family wanting me to move closer to them so they could help, I decided to stay where I was.  The reason…a guy.  Not just any guy, this was true love, The One, or so I thought at the time.  Within a couple of months, I had found my first « grown-up » job, in an office no less.  There I met my first mentor, everything was perfect.

She was smart, quirky, and exactly the kind of person I wanted to be.  She taught me how to navigate office politics, manage my time, and juggle priorities, most of all she let me learn.  I learned most of the skills that have allowed me to work as an admin assistant at that job, but the most important lessons she taught me were life lessons.  The first was that you really can be true to yourself, and do your own thing, and still find a place in society.  She taught me to compromise, but never to conform.  The other lesson was one that would save me a lot of heartbreak.

After about a year of working there, things were not so great with the guy I was with.  We were just too extreme.  We loved fiercely, and fought fiercely, everything was either really great or really bad, but we were in love, and at the time, I was young, and naive, and I believed that we would be together forever, because it was love, and when you are in love things always work out (at least according to the movies).

One day, after a particularly harsh fight with the guy, we had broken up, again.  We were in her office and she just said « you know, sometimes love isn’t enough. ».  I remember looking at her as if she were crazy.  She continued « I could meet some wonderful man tomorrow who makes me feel crazy head over heels in love, but I would be foolish to run off with him.  I love my husband, and more important, we have built a life together of common goals, values, and respect.  Love on its own is not enough to make a relationship work. » I replied « but relationships take work, it can’t always be easy » she said « there is a big difference between something taking work, and something being destructive.  A truly great relationship is when you both push each other to be better at being you, not trying to change the other person »

At the time I dismissed it, we were in love and would be together forever, end of story. 

About a month or so later, her words were still swimming around in my head.  Here was this woman whom I respected immensely, who had taught me so much and had yet to lead me in the wrong direction, telling me to let go of my one true love.  Could she be right?

Within a few months after that conversation, I left that guy, after two years of trying and failing to make it work.  I also left that job not long after, and moved to be closer to my family.  I have never regretted my decision to initially stay to be with him, mostly because if I hadn’t I would probably still be wondering « What if? ».

Her words have stayed with me ever since, and while I still love being in love, I never settled for just love, and I let go of the idea that things will work themselves out if you love each other enough.  Her lesson has allowed me to stay grounded in my relationships.  I wish I were still in contact with her, so I could tell her that I finally found my « great relationship » of love, respect, and common values and goals.  I wish I could thank her for putting a fork in the road of my life and helping me see the right direction.

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts 12.10 - What did you learn from your best boss?

Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. That's an incredible lesson to learn from a boss. And at nineteen! Lucky you.

    Visiting from Mama Kat's. :-)

    1. I know, it took me 10 years after that to find the right relationship, but I was luck to have been on the right path early

  2. What a great boss and friend. That's the kind of advice we don't want to hear but desperately need!

  3. It is amazing how someone's words can stick with us and alter the course of your life. I wonder if she has any idea the impact that convo had on your life.
    Your boss was a wise owl, for sure.

  4. What a great lesson to learn! You certainly got lucky with your boss--she was very smart.

  5. What a fabulous lesson to learn at such a young age. I love, love that line, "A truly great relationship is when you both push each other to be better at being you." So true.